My Earliest Catholic Apologetics Writings (1990-1995)

My Earliest Catholic Apologetics Writings (1990-1995) February 19, 2021

. . . Including the Original (Much Longer) 1994 Version of A Biblical Defense of Catholicism

 

I became convinced of Catholicism in October 1990 (see several versions of my conversion story on the Conversion and Converts web page). Having been a Protestant apologist for the previous nine years (and a full-time campus missionary in the 1985-1989 period), it was only natural for me to start sharing with friends the reasons for my shocking change of affiliation and belief.
 
Many of those initial papers (done on a typewriter from October 1990 through to early 1992), before I had a computer and 4-6 years before I was on the Internet) became chapters of A Biblical Defense of Catholicism. They were not intended to be so at first. As time went on, my Catholic friends started urging me to try to get the collection published as a book. The first draft (a much longer, 750-page version) was done by 1994. I then decided to greatly shorten it and (taking my friend Al Kresta’s advice) add references to the new Catechism, and this draft (the present book) was completed by May 1996.
 
I then went through the usual nonsense of rejection by about seven publishers (most of them — bless their hearts — never even giving me a reason for rejection), and published it on my own in 2001. In 2003 I persuaded Sophia Institute Press to publish it (they have since put out five more of my books). In December 2001 I also became a full-time Catholic apologist and have been busily pursuing that vocation and profession ever since.
 
The original title of A Biblical Defense of Catholicism was The Credibility of Catholicism: A Scriptural and Historical Apologetic. I think I also considered Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, but decided that this would be the name for my website instead (people often confuse the two). At length I decided to edit out much of the historical analysis, and concentrate more on the biblical arguments (which has since become my trademark and one of my big apologetics emphases), and the book became much less “polemical” in terms of critiquing Protestantism (that is more characteristic of my second “officially published” book, The Catholic Verses). Here is the original outline of chapters, with links to what is available online:

I. PREMISES, PRESUPPOSITIONS, AND PROTESTANTISM

Introduction: The Unthinkable Inquiry [developed into the present Introduction (link) ]

1. Anti-Catholicism: The Curse of “Papists” [originally 25 January 1991, with three later slight revisions; now included in two papers: Classic Anti-Catholic Polemicists (Chick, Boettner, & Hislop) / Anti-Catholicism: Classic Catholic Replies and Retorts] [see the original chapter]

2. Sola Scriptura: Is Christian Tradition Irrelevant? [developed into the present Chapter One; 14 September 1992; now partially included in the papers: Classic Reflections on Tradition, Sola Scriptura, & the Canon / The New Testament Canon & Historical Processes [rev. 1996] / “Apocrypha”: Why It’s Part of the Bible [rev. 1996] ] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]

3. Protestantism: Conceptual and Developmental Errors [online paper; originally 20 June 1991; now broken up into many papers: The Dichotomous Nature of Protestant Thought [Facebook] / Protestantism as the Root Cause of Secularization [Facebook] / Protestantism: Compromising & Liberalizing Tendency / Pragmatism: Protestant Self-Critique Number One  / Worldliness & Compromise: Protestant Self-Critique #2 / Materialism & Narcissism: Protestant Self-Critique #3 / Catholicism is the Ultimate Fulfillment of Protestantism (Bouyer and Chesterton) [Facebook] ] [see the original chapter]

4. Martin Luther: Beyond Mythology to Historical Fact [14 January 1991; was once posted as an online paper, but eventually taken down, as I learned more and more about Luther and honed or revised several of my opinions; portions of it in some form made it into various other later papers]

5. The Protestant Revolt: Its Tragedy and Initial Impact [originally 11 June 1991; broken up into these present papers: Protestant Revolt Was Largely Politically Motivated / Early Protestant Antipathy Towards Art (+ Iconoclasm) / Astonishing Hostility to Higher Education in Early Protestantism / Early Protestant Hostility Towards Science [rev. 7-9-04] ] [see the original chapter]

6. Intolerance and Persecution: The “Reformation” Record [originally 3 June 1991; now online as: Protestant Inquisitions: “Reformation” Intolerance & Persecution [rev. 10-31-03, 3-7-07, 9-14-17] ]

II. MAJOR CATHOLIC “CONTROVERSIAL” DOCTRINES

7. The Development of Doctrine: From Acorn to Oak Tree [present Chapter Three; originally 17 February 1991; see “Reflections” portion] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]

8. The Eucharist and Sacrifice of the Mass: “This is My Body” [present Chapters Four and Five; originally 8 March 1992; see: Reflections on the Holy Eucharist & Transubstantiation / The Eucharist, Incarnation, and Reason: Reflections / The Sacrifice of the Mass: Classic Catholic ReflectionsTransubstantiation: A Philosophical & Rational Defense [1996 revision] ] [see complete Eucharist chapter: 1996 version] [see complete Sacrifice of the Mass chapter: 1996 version]

9. Sola Fide: Is Luther’s Justification Justifiable? [present Chapter Two; 4 April 1994; see: Justification: Classic Catholic & Protestant ReflectionsLuther and the Origin & Nature of “Instant” Salvation / Salvation and Justification in the Gospels and Acts [1996 version] / St. Paul on Justification, Sanctification, & Salvation [1996 version] ] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]

10. Penance, Purgatory, and Indulgences: “Saved As By Fire” [present Chapters Seven and Eight; 21 April 1994; see: Classic Catholic Reflections on Purgatory / Classic Catholic Reflections on Penance / Classic Catholic Reflections on Indulgences / 25 Bible Passages on Purgatory [1996 version] / Biblical Evidence for Indulgences [1996 version] / Lenten Meditation: NT Teaching on Suffering with Christ [1996 version] ] [see complete Purgatory chapter: 1996 version] [see complete Penance chapter: 1996 version]

11. The Communion of Saints: “. . . All Who Are in Christ” [present Chapter Six; originally 17 February 1991; revised and expanded in Dec. 1993; see Classic Reflections on the Communion of Saints] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]

12. The Blessed Virgin Mary: “Hail Mary, Full of Grace” [present Chapter Nine; 10 April 1993, after the first version was completely wiped out on my computer; see: Reflections on Mary: Preliminaries & Devotional Excesses / Immaculate Conception of Mary (Classic Catholic Commentary) / Reflections on the Spiritual Motherhood & Mediation of Mary / Blessed Virgin Mary & God’s Special Presence in Scripture / Bodily Assumption of Mary (John Saward: Protestant) [Facebook] / Cardinal Newman on the Bodily Assumption of Mary / Ven. Fulton Sheen on the Bodily Assumption of MaryMary Mediatrix (Fr. William G. Most) [Facebook] ] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]

13. The Papacy and Infallibility: “The Keys of the Kingdom” [present Chapter Ten; 16 September 1993; see: 50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy & the PapacyPapacy & Papal Infallibility: Classic Catholic Reflections / Primacy of St. Peter Verified by Protestant Scholars ] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]

APPENDIX ONE: My Conversion: Confessions of a 1980s “Jesus Freak” [published in Surprised by Truth in 1994 in similar form (see my original manuscript) and removed from the book: originally 9 December 1990; revised and expanded in 1992 and 1993]

APPENDIX TWO: Catholic Converts: The Many Roads to Rome [(11 February 1991; revised 1993); see my general observations and: Catholic Conversion: Classic Analyses (Chesterton, Belloc, Pelikan) and the brief conversion stories of St. John Henry Cardinal NewmanG. K. Chesterton, Fr. Ronald Knox, and Malcolm Muggeridge: all from 1991]

The original book was about two-and-a-half times larger than the currently published one, with much more historical documentation and citations from great Catholic apologists. The historical background behind each doctrine was eventually compiled into one huge Internet paper: The Witness of the Church Fathers With Regard to Catholic Distinctives (With Examples of Protestant Corroboration of Catholic Doctrines or Clear Contradiction of Patristic Consensus). Many quotes from others were compiled in various “Reflections on . . .” papers (noted above).
See the outline of the book as it is now, and was after the 1996 revision at the book info-page.
 
Chronology of Early Apologetic Papers (and Later Book Chapters)

[everything below was completed before I ever went online (March 1996) or began a website (February 1997). Several were published in Catholic magazines, as noted, or eventually in my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (first edition, 1994; revised in May 1996; self-published in 2001; published mostly intact by Sophia Institute Press in 2003]

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“My Conversion: Confessions of a 1980s ‘Jesus Freak'” [9 December 1990; published in different versions in This Rock (September 1993: sadly “edited” beyond recognition) and the book Surprised by Truth (slightly edited by Patrick Madrid) in 1994. I include the link to my original manuscript ]
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“Martin Luther: Beyond Mythology to Historical Fact” [14 January 1991; in the first 1994 version of my book but withdrawn from online due to some errors and my revised opinions and presentation of Luther]
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“Anti-Catholicism: The Curse of ‘Papists'” [from the book above, 25 January 1991]
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“Catholic Converts: The Many Roads to Rome” [from the book above, 11 February 1991] [see partial links above]
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“The Communion of Saints: ‘. . . All Who Are in Christ'” [17 February 1991; book chapter] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]
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“The Development of Doctrine: From Acorn to Oak Tree” [17 February 1991; book chapter] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]
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“Protestantism: Conceptual and Developmental Errors” [book chapter above, 20 June 1991]
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St. John Henry Cardinal Newman conversion story [1991; published in The Coming Home Newsletter, Nov/Dec 1996, 4-5; from book above]
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G. K. Chesterton conversion story [1991; published in The Coming Home Newsletter, Sep/Oct 1996, 5-7; from book above]
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Ronald Knox conversion story [1991; published in The Coming Home Newsletter, Jan/Feb 1997, 9; from book above]
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Malcolm Muggeridge conversion story [1991; published in The Coming Home Newsletter, March/April 1997, 6-7; from book above]
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“The Eucharist and Sacrifice of the Mass: ‘This is My Body'” [8 March 1992; two book chapters] [see complete Eucharist chapter: 1996 version] [see complete Sacrifice of the Mass chapter: 1996 version]
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“The Orthodox vs. the Heterodox Luther” [July 1992; published as “The Real Martin Luther,” The Catholic Answer, Jan/Feb 1993, 32-37]
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Sola Scriptura: Is Christian Tradition Irrelevant?” [14 September 1992; book chapter] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]
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“The Blessed Virgin Mary: ‘Hail Mary, Full of Grace'” [10 April 1993; book chapter] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]
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“The Papacy and Infallibility: ‘The Keys of the Kingdom'” [16 September 1993; book chapter] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]
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Sola Fide: Is Luther’s Justification Justifiable?” [4 April 1994; book chapter] [see complete chapter: 1996 version]
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“Penance, Purgatory, and Indulgences: ‘Saved As By Fire'” [21 April 1994; originally one, now two book chapters] [see complete Purgatory chapter: 1996 version] [see complete Penance chapter: 1996 version]
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“Martin Luther’s Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” [26 April 1994; published in The Coming Home Journal, January-March 1998, 12-13]
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“The Ecclesiological Credentials of Orthodoxy and Catholicism” [6 August 1994; later developed into two papers: Catholicism and Orthodoxy: A Comparison and A Response to Orthodox Critiques of Catholic Apostolicity, and published in similar form as “To Orthodox Critics of Catholic Apostolicity: Unity Still Sought,” The Catholic Answer, Nov/Dec 1997, 32-35, 38-39, 62]
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“150 Reasons Why I Am a Catholic” [6 August 1994; revised 9-28-05]
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“Tradition is Not a Dirty Word,” [Dec. 1994; published in Hands On Apologetics, Mar/April 1995, 30-32, 34; slightly revised on 8-16-16]
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“50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy and the Papacy” [in book above; 1994; published as “The Pre-Eminence of St. Peter: 50 New Testament Proofs,” The Catholic Answer, Jan/Feb 1997, 32-35]
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“The Communion of Saints” [July 1995; published in The Catholic Answer (Nov / Dec 1998) ]
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“Problems With the Proof Texts for ‘The Bible Alone,’ ” Hands On Apologetics, Nov/Dec 1995, 12-13, 34.
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Cartoon tract (art by Dan Grajek): The Cloud of Witnesses [mid-1990s]
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Cartoon tract (art by Dan Grajek): Mary: Do Catholics Have a Biblical View? [mid-1990s]
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Cartoon tract (art by Dan Grajek): Joe Hardhat, the Quintessential Catholic: On Justification [mid-1990s]
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(originally 1-5-11; greatly revised, with updated links on 2-19-21)

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Photo credit: original self-published cover of my first book (2001). The book was completed in May 1996.

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Summary: Documentation of my earliest forays into Catholic apologetics after 1990: including the original 1994 much longer (750-page) version of my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism.

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